Listen and Learn

Last article I spoke of grills and smokers, two of my absolute favorite cooking methods. This week were delving along those same lines but I’ll be talking about fish, salmon in fact. Salmon is one of the most delectable high activity fish due to its oily flesh and rich flavor. It also happens to be a main staple in my father’s diet. Now I love to teach people how to cook, in fact I may consider that a career someday, being a full time culinary instructor, but my father is my prized student. That is when he listens to me.

My father comes from a strict Italian diet, he loves his peppers and pasta, sausages and meats. My goal with him is to teach him everything that I know so that he can replicate his own meals and cook for my family. He is an apt student, his skills improve greatly with each lesson. Now what happens where he thinks he knows more than the teacher? Ah, pride can make or break a chef, and in this case destroy a whole meal. My father tried to replicate a recipe for Salmon in a blueberry sauce, and since he adores green veg, decided on some sauteed broccoli and julienned zucchini.

I’m a firm believer in many small things make a good chef, thus meaning when I tell him over and over again that he is over cooking his green veg, so it looks brown and decayed, and that he must shock it in salted boiling water before hand to maintain his color, you’d think that he’d listen. Nope. His veg resembles something of the color of baby food and relatively a similar consistency. Time and time again I’d tell him to pay attention and stop trying to skip the necessary steps. This also came for cooking the salmon, which would have to be pan fried.

The salmon, which when prepared correctly resembles a wonderful golden brown/pink color. Pan frying is rather simple if done correctly. A large sautoir is filled with oil until the bottom of the pan is covered, then heated till ripples appear. Then salmon should be placed skin side down and flipped only once so that both sides are cooked. The blueberry sauce is made from, what else blueberries. Unfortunately, my father used a saute pan, and burned the ever loving Jesus out of the fish. He tried to cheat the sauce by adding a few “extra” ingredients as well. Ultimately, the meal failed, and was very unpalatable. The lesson here is listen and learn, not go off on a tangent.

Next week we’ll have more summer fun and discuss more about techniques, and start off a new series of articles breaking down each technique and what you can do with them. Until then, go get cooking!